Tuesday, December 30

I Love (this) Monday

In a matter of hours I have become a huge fan of train travel. Sure,
there's the obligatory person with the phlemy cough, but so far it
smells way better than a plane. Plus so many other things are better
than air travel. I got to keep my shoes on and bring excessive amounts
of liquids aboard. Parking is free, and there is no drink cart running
over my foot. For added delight, the conductor looks like he walked
off of The Polar Express.

I miss looking out at great exspanses of clouds and peering at the world below through the holes, but the whole not-going-to-fall-out-of-the-sky is fair and good trade-off.

Monday, December 29

Merry Times

It has been half a month since my last post, but all the shopping,
merrymaking and living have filled every minute. Above is my parents'
lovely tree as they celebrated the first Christmas in their new home
that we were working so hard to remodel this time last year.

Despite being coerced to a church service where hot candle wax ran
down my pinky, it was really wonderful spending time with our
families. My niece got Blendy Pens, and we had fun coloring together.
It took me a while to realize that you twist them, but she knew.
Buzzword was a fun new game my sister-in-law picked up, and I did a
couple rounds of No Sleep Til Brooklyn on Guitar Hero.

The gifts we gave were well received and B and I got some nice things,
too. Each year we try to pare down, and the simpler it gets, the

Sunday, December 14

Tiny Plastic Containers

You know what's awesome? Tiny plastic containers. They're incredibly cheap and cheaply made, but oh, how they will improve your life.

For years our vanity has been a minor disaster, well mildly disorganized. The nail file, the tweezers, the toothpaste, a mirror, potions and lotions have all lain willy nilly in the drawer. They probably had a fine time of it - this one cozying up with that one - then suffered the drama of the toothpaste thrown hastily down to crash relationships apart. No more. I have put an end to this madness. The toothpaste lays with the floss in a long, thin container. The nail apparatus and tweezers get along in a square jobby. It will be a pleasure to start Monday morning in such an ordered state.

Saturday, December 13

Niebu Everyone!

Okay, you might think I'm pretty geeky to learn I think this is the coolest thing ever, this Neibu. I could tell you what it is, but it's best you find out for yourself here.

Sunday, December 7

Try Something New

Yesterday I did a couple of things that I've been meaning to try. 1. Get orange streaks in my hair. 2. Blow hot glass. These have both been on my to-do list for some time so knocking them both out in the same day was kind of cool.

First, the orange hue came out awesome: like fire. What isn't awesome is with my current part, it's all hidden under the top layer of my hair. I didn't get it styled before I left so it was wet and I just figured when I blow dried and styled it at home it would show up nicely.  I was really unhappy, but then B and I went to go see Bolt and that hamster made me forget all about it for a while. Today I parted my hair on the opposite side which isn't so natural for my cowlick, but the orange looks fab. This may work out after all. For days I want less orange I can just style it the other way. We'll see. I may still call the stylist and see if she can't offer me something to make it look more like the picture I showed her. I thought we were on the same page, but it didn't quite end up looking like that.

Blowing hot glass was really cool - and scary. "Don't suck in!," I kept telling myself. A friend at the studio was showing a couple of us how to do it. We used 1/4 inch hollow tubes, built up glass on the end (picture putting two bird nests together to make a ball), got it all dully orange in the flame and then blew! I blew a hole right through mine eventually and thin glass was flying all over like pieces of confetti. Too funny. With help, I got it all melted back together to try again and and that's when an interesting thing happened. I heard a low vrooming sound - what I thought was a vehicle going by outside - and felt the tube start to vibrate. The sound was coming from the tube! Glass makes a musical hum. 

Saturday, December 6

And Now Back to the Show

It was kind of an impromptu thing to sign up for a holiday show, and I'm just about to head there. If you like handmade artisan jewelry from glass to metal work, here's the info.

Thursday, December 4

On the Avenue

Horse drawn carriages, grilled chestnuts, carolers, quaint shops: The Park Ave Open House. Every year I've missed it for one reason or another, but the planets aligned tonight! Highlights of the evening were: 1. A new visual for frozen fish. 2. Cinnamon gelato - it's like eating cold cookie dough 3. A lei of garland from the Hawaiian florist and a free book written by the man who works there about his Hawaiian heritage

It was so cold (see frozen fish) that B was physically shaking so we missed the tree lighting ceremony to seek food and shelter. I was unsympathetic. He knew we were going to be out in the frigid air, and dammit, I was trying to be festive. My holiday spirit has been sorely lacking so any damper on it brought out that green monster, you know, the one who steals Christmas from Whos. The damper was short lived as we warmed up with some chai and tasty sandwhiches. It was a great night to be cold together.

Sunday, November 30

Turkey For You, and Turkey For Me

I hope you all had a wonderful, tolerable or at least uneventful Thanksgiving. Mine was filled with family which was fun, but also tiring. B and I are back in our quiet abode which we spent the whole day in except for working out this morning and a quick drive to the store for milk this afternoon. In between we watched movies under blankets and ate leftovers. Oh, and I almost drove by our house on the way back because B put up some Christmas lights, and I'm used to looking for the dark spot. I like the dark spot. I like that B put up the lights more.

I got to try the Wii this weekend and that was fun. The response of the controllers is amazing. I rate bowling as the most fun, but I didn't get to try tennis. Golf is just as boring as it is in real life and boxing, while highly entertaining, is incredibly difficult to tell what you are doing.

The food which I had been looking forward to for weeks did not disappoint. The stuffing and the pumpkin pie (to me, the only things you really need at Thanksgiving) were perfect. Of course, I love squash, too - boiled and mashed and no funny business. My Dad's was perfect. It was a hybrid of whatever he's thrown on the compost pile; this squash started growing and it was a beautiful orange and sweet without adding a thing.

Thursday, November 27

Who Knew Town Meetings Are Fun?

I went to my first town meeting on Tuesday to help make the mountain biking community's voice heard. The group showed up in mass. It was a cold night, and I know I would have rather been snug in my house. No one could dispute the local interest in the sport. Currently no bicycles are allowed on the trails in any county park, and we have big parks with amazing trails. Horses and hikers constitute the multi-use along with snowshoers and cross country skiers in the winter. These users' only experience with bikers are those that ride illegally, and you can imagine they haven't been good. We hope they will give us responsible and courteous riders a chance to change their views.

Currently the town is agreeing to giving us access to one section of the park that is too advanced for beginner riders and already run into the ground by illegal riding. Hopefully other areas will be opened as they get used to our presence.

I'd be curious to know what the situation is in your area.

Sunday, November 23

Before and After

Here a couple of shots of all the pendants below before firing and after. I love how the edges go all soft and round.

Fresh From the Kiln

Saturday, November 22

The Kiln is On

Yes, the kiln is on! It has been months since I've made some pendants. I spent yesterday afternoon pulling strings of glass, leaves and cutting. I'm really happy with how they looked going in. Fingers crossed they come out well. I'll post before-and-after pictures when they are done.

Friday, November 21

Playing With Fire

I turned on the torch today to pull some delicate strings and leaves
of glass to decorate pendants I'll be fusing. It's always a surprise
to see just how they'll come out. One is a custom order in greens and
browns that someone wants to give to a nature-lover for Christmas. I
hope they love it. Nature-lover that I am, I hope I can part with it,
or I'll be making another. I'll post pictures when they're done!

Thursday, November 20

You Can Buy Happiness - Buy Handmade

I've received my new lunch tote and scarf from Etsy, and I can't rave enough. Click the link to see pictures and links to the shops.

The lunch tote came in a matter of days and it's washable, durable and gorgeous in every way. Everyone who looked in the office refrigerator commented on its stylishness. How someone can sew like this is beyond me.

My second item took a little longer as it said in the listing to give her just three days to make it and then it had to get on a plane. I've been awaiting the package from Australia all week and was so excited to see it in my mailbox! A 100% Australian hand-dyed wool scarflette was hand knitted for me by Stacey. It's a wonderful thing to purchase something directly from the creator.

You will be hard pressed to find more pride of craftsmanship and amazing customer service than that of Etsy sellers. When you buy handmade you make three people incredibly happy: the artist you bought it from, the person you bought it for and yourself for finding something so amazing and being part of that wonderful triangle. Of course, I was both the buyer and receiver this time - bonus!

Thursday, November 13


Last Friday I picked out some glass rods with autumn on my mind - indigo night skies, the last yellow-orange rays of the day, spongy green moss that clings to rocks, warm ivory whipped cream atop a mug of chai - and sat at the torch to make some beads. Tonight I made them into wearable creations.

I Will Finish That Book!

First catch up by reading the previous post. You back? Here's the next installment.

I went to the library - a different one than where I got it 'cause I happened to be closer to it - and told them my sad page 906 - page 978 story. People in line behind me made throaty noises of empathy, and one told me his own tales of woe of books on CD where sometimes whole chapters are missing do to maltreatment.

As the librarian looked at the gap, an idea struck. "Do you have a copy of this book?" I asked. Indeed he did! Incredibly pages are missing out of this one as well, but not the pages I needed he nicely pointed out, and I left happy that I'm going to be able to end this.

Tuesday, November 11

This Has Never Happened Before

I have renewed Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross - the fifth of six books in the Outlander series -twice. It's big, I have other things going on, and man, it just seems to be taking me an eternity to finish it. This morning the end was in sight, and I looked forward to finishing it on my lunch. Still, after an hour I had roughly 20 pages left. Undeterred, I looked forward to finishing it tonight. My husband can't wait for me to finish it. You know it's bad when other people want you to be done with a book.

As I downloaded the Dreamweaver CS4 trial, I started down the homestretch. I turned page 906 to find page 978. Shock overruled pissed-offness - I know, that's shocking in itself. I guess it's going back to the library regardless now, which was the goal. I will point it out to them so it doesn't happen to the next poor reader. Hopefully they won't think it happened on my watch. I'm not too proud to find a seat at the book store and work on finishing it up there whenever I'm in the area. I love this story, but am ready to be done with it.

Monday, November 10

Do Gooder

I had candles - a whole boxful that were doing nothing for me but taking up space. I picked out the few I wanted, and if waxen shapes have aspirations, I found a place for the rest to reach their full potential. My community publishes a small magazine that lists the wishes of local charities. How great it that? The one in need of candles is called Friends and Family of Murdered Children and Victims of Violent Crimes. No way to shorten or soften that. It's as final and heavy as granite.

This afternoon I walked up to the headquarters - an old mansion with a ten foot tall door and pushed the bell. A lady walked down the grand staircase and greeted me with a smile as she saw my box. She was really thrilled and explained how she saves her pennies to go pick up votives at the dollar store when she can. I apologized that some had been lit, but that was of no consequence as she says they will use them at vigils. A few were brand new like the heart-shaped one I pointed out, and she told me she already had a mother in mind to give that to who had lost her son on Thanksgiving. That my little candle might bring this woman the smallest comfort and a way to remember him makes my day. That cleaning out my cupboard is going to bring tiny points of light to those who need something bright to cling to makes my day. I want my work to be like this. I was so happy to give. She was so happy to receive and in turn will give these little lights a purpose to shine.

Sunday, November 9

Sunday Afternoon

My bird feeder seems to be abandoned even though it's half full. That got me wondering if Gold Finches leave for the winter. I know they toss their yellow feathers for the drab gray/brown ones. Perhaps they are busy doing just that. Chickadees and Cardinals stay here right through the biting winds, freezing temperatures and swirling snowstorms. If I were a Chickadee I'd find Robins and their ilk less hardcore. Maybe they are simply fair-weather feathered.

Saturday, November 8

I Heart Etsy

The lining in my lunch bag started falling apart...again. I could have duct taped it because once I really loved it, but it was made of cheap materials so I'm done with it. What do I need and want out of my lunch bag, I thought to myself, and can I find it on Etsy? The answers turned out to be handmade, durable, insulated, machine washable and yes! The material it's made out of is an eco-friendly bamboo/cotton blend to boot! This one should be a keeper. Check out the Naturally Felt shop.

Another thing I've been wanting is a new scarf. Not a long swinging scarf for looks, but one that will sit nicely inside my coat. I also want it to be handmade of beautiful colors to brighten the dark winter days ahead. Etsy to the rescue. Enter the scarflette that even has an opening to thread one side of the scarf through the other. This one is coming all the way from down under! Check out the Sheep's Clothing shop. Crikey, isn't it gorgeous?

Tuesday, November 4

There is...

Hope. Joy. Enthusiasm. Happiness. Relief. Obama.

This link will probably be down in the morning, but hopefully you'll get to check it in time.

Please, Please, Please

Eyes squeezed tight. Fingers and toes crossed. Hopes through the roof. 

Election Day. It felt like Christmas morning when the alarm rang. It's Obama Day!, I thought to myself. From the first time I heard him speak at the 2004 Democratic Convention, I thought, "I want to vote for that man." Did I get caught up in the eloquent words, his poignant story? Yes. Words are power. They are how we communicate, find common ground, avoid wars, inspire people to change, convey our love, desires and hopes; they are how we learn as well as how we teach. 

I am so grateful to have the right to vote. I am so proud to cast my vote for the first African-American President in my lifetime. I am filled with more hope than I have ever had after opening the voting booth curtains.

Sunday, November 2

Closing Up Shop

There were some things that were cluttering up the blog so I just chucked them. 

Ahh. That's better. You may notice - or likely not since none of us are buying things we don't need these days - that I have closed up my online glass bead shop, and it is no longer featured at the right. Actually it's on permanent vacation mode until I decide to give it the attention it deserves. You can still see plenty of my work at the right in my Flickr photos. 

One day something new will show up. 

Sunday, October 26


I sure have neglected my blog this month, and I've neglected reading my faves as well. I really like blogging. There are plenty of things to share. I've just been lazy I guess. 

I got to see Kevin Bacon tonight. Un-pixelized. In the same room. He is freaking cute, looks like the type to dance all night and can play a ridiculous number of instruments. If this is news to you, go check out The Bacon Brothers. Of course, that he's cute is not news. One of my favorite songs is Memorize. Beautiful. 

I just got an e-mail for NaNoWriMo. That was a complete failure last year. I could try again and aim for consistency. I did write 6,000 words. Maybe 6,005 could be a goal.

Wednesday, October 15


Poetic truths spoken by Frederick Douglass. I had the good fortune of coming across them today on a monument to the man in a park.

Tuesday, October 14

Thank You for Raking

I want to thank that guy who was raking his yard as I went by on my run tonight. I don't care so much that you are tidy. I am just thrilled that you are not using a leaf blower! I heard the quick rustle of the leaves as I approached and enjoyed the sound as you shot a rake-full up a three foot pile. For a split second I thought about jumping in it and how much fun that was as a kid. Thank you Rake Guy for filling the neighborhood with pleasant sounds. Me, I will let the leaves rot right into my lawn and blow all over my neighbors yards come spring. My dear husband is a better person than me though, and once they all fall, he will probably go rake them up. I could be persuaded to help if it's a beautiful day out.

While I'm at it, I also want to thank my library. Not only can I read more books than I'd ever have room to keep at my house if I bought them, but you actually send me an e-mail reminding me the day before they are due. As if that weren't enough, you also include a link for me to renew online in case I won't be able to make it. So, dear person at the library who thought this up and also to the no doubt group of people who made it happen: You rock.

Friday, October 10

Seriously - Go Play!

How am I supposed to get anything done with all this fun stuff to play with?

Go! Play!

I found this on the most fun website ever. The site seems to have no other purpose except to get you to play so it's a very noble purpose indeed.

Monday, September 29

"You Should Have Heard the Horn Section"

I listened to classical music while commuting today. It's not completely out of the ordinary for me to do this but to keep it on the station the entire time is.

I once read an article about in inventor who will do something different just for a new perspective. While I felt like I was in a cartoon or that my drive was incredibly dramatic - you should have heard the horn section when I made a left turn - the thought came to me to see if I could keep this up for a week. Classical music is supposed to make you think better. I let you know how that works out.

Saturday, September 27

Hide and Seek: Exchange Art

I've recently discovered something I didn't know existed: letterboxing. I've spent the afternoon decorating my notebook at left and printing out clues.

Essentially people all over the world hand carve or buy a rubber stamp, put it with a blank notebook inside a weatherproof box and hide it. Then they write up a clue describing how to find it, and post it online. Once located, explorers stamp their own notebook with said stamp and bring a stamp of their own to mark the notebook they found. When I have described this practice, people often ask, "Why?" That question never entered my mind. I only thought, "Where?!" If that's also your first thought, you can start searching (and learn more about its origins in England) here or here.

Most of the stamps are hand carved so it's like going on a scavenger hunt to exchange art. 

What's cooler than that?

Happy letterboxing!

Tuesday, September 23

Halfway to the Weekend (this time tomorrow)

I have no news at this moment per say. Per say makes it sound like perhaps I do but am not telling you. Hmm. I am moving forward toward some of those goals in the last post so I guess that's something.

B and I just walked back from the library. What a beautiful evening! If fall were like this most days and lasted longer, I'd be more of a fan. We have been eating better already. Cold air inspires warm kitchens.

Saturday, September 20

Un-resolutions: Part II

On New Year's Eve of last year I posted this list of un-resolutions - things I'd like to see happen but didn't want to call resolutions due to the rigid commitment that implies and my lack of it. To my great surprise, many of them - including those that seemed the most unlikely -  happened:

1. Do Randolph Arts and Crafts Show in June - DONE
2. Go to Hawaii - DONE
3. Go surfing (in Hawaii) - DONE

4. Snowboard on a "real" mountain
5. Lift more - DONE
6. Run a half or full marathon - DONE (just ran a half last Sunday)

7. Be more grateful
8. Don't let P.I.T.A.s get to me

9. Read, read, read as always - DONE
10. Attain Design Certifications
11. Try to get off this computer more since I'm on one all day - DONE
12. And as always, be inspired by one of my favorite groupings of words ever, Desiderata - DONE

That's 8 out of 12. I am extremely pleased by this! Number 2 and 3 were complete, hope-I-do-this-someday pipe dreams. I never believed in this writing things down, but it seems there's something to it. Someone told me it's the Law of Attraction. With three months left in this year, I'm putting a new list out into the cosmos. Who says New Year's is the only time for lists?

1. Attain Design Certifications
2. Go to Venice with B
3. Finish kitchen project
4. Live by the ocean
5. Live in the mountains
6. Swim to the other side of the lake where we stay in the Adirondacks
7. Change my environment
8. Put smashing designs online
9. Stay fit
10. Always have a goal when getting on computer - try not to get sidetracked
11. See lava in person

Sure I still want to be more grateful and snowboard a real mountain, but the old list still stands and the new one just has some new ideas. I make the rules here, right? Do you have things you want to do? Dreams that just idly float around in your head? Feel free to add your list - short or long - in the comments. 

Monday, September 15

Running Fool

Yesterday it would have been easier for a fish to breathe the air. It was not the kind of day where you wake up and think, "I'm going to go for a nice long run." But that's what I did. It was half marathon day.

Months ago it had seemed like such a good idea. My mileage was slipping, and I needed a goal. It worked, too. I've run 20-30 miles every month. Not a lot by obsessed runner standards, but there are just other things I'd rather do. Like not run - and kayak and mountain bike. You know if you've been reading this blog any amount of time.

At the start I'm already thinking this is going to suck and by mile three I walked a few strides uphill. Then I got in my groove and realized around mile six I probably wasn't going to feel any worse than I did then so kept on. My logic being the more I run, the sooner I can stop.

I came in five minutes off my best time and finished the 13.1 miles in 2 hours 17 minutes. I was pretty happy with that. I have to admit I stopped trying so hard at mile twelve and walked some more. I thought why hurt myself at this point. 120 people needed medical attention because of the heat, and I ran by a guy lying on the pavement with emergency personal asking, "Do you know your name? Sir, do you know your name?" Always a reality check to be an event where people collapse and not know who they are.

Thursday, September 11

Big Typography

I decided to enter a design contest. I can submit as many designs as I like and can see this becoming addicting. Rules: Use this quote, "What we do in life, echoes in eternity." I really have to get to bed so must stop with my first try for tonight.

Read more about the contest and see more entries.

Wednesday, September 10

My Favorite Link of the Day


Alter Ego

I am safely back from a blissful stay in the Adirondacks where my alter ego did all kinds of things boring old Everyday Me doesn't.

Here's a short list:
1. She ate bacon every day - lots of it

2. One night when offered homemade bread fresh from the oven she couldn't resist a slice. Everyday Me would would jump at the chance, too. But she should would not have painted real butter on it with the provided paintbrush the size of one you would use on the molding in your house.

3. She drank Chardonnay - and liked it

Everyday Me combated the bacon and bread consumption with lake swimming, hikes, walking, kayaking and jogging. I hope I live in a place one day where I can do all those things most days just like vacationing in the Adirondacks. It's such an appealing way of life.

B also went outside his lines and not only read a book for enjoyment, but finished it and played a mean game of Boggle with a group of new friends who invited us.

Saturday, September 6


I took this yesterday morning while taking a walk after swimming in the lake. B and I don't want for activity or food here.

Today we walked this road to the end and back (a two-mile roundtrip), I went swimming (B's not much for polar bear plunges) and then we hiked for couple of hours to the summit of Mt. Sawyer and back. We enjoyed the view (pictured below), chatted and mosied back down somehow making it to the car before the rain started. Then I wanted to stop and look at some artisan-made furniture in craft tents along the road. Moments later we enjoyed a complete deluge that drenched us all the way to our underwear since rain coats really just keep your upper half dry. It was fun running uphill back to the car as tiny rivers streamed beneath our boots.

From Where I'm Sitting

Sunday, August 31


I wasn't going to run because I didn't bring clothes suited for it, but the morning fog in the country was all come hither. So here I am, pajama pants rolled up, manure pungent in thankfully crisp morning air and enjoying walking back home. Hey, there's my dad! Must have come looking for me.

Hey A, this is where we used to stand on the guard rail and pull imaginary cords to get the expressway truckers to honk their horns.

Friday, August 29

Friday, August 22

Sayonara Summer

It's slipping away.  Sunday the geese started gathering, traveling in great arrows against blue skies, pointing the way to winter. Underfoot, bright yellow and red leaves are already starting to decorate the roadsides as I run. Just two or three here and there, but that's how it starts.  And most telling of all, the Rheent, Rheents are here.  What are the Rheent, Rheents?  They must be kind of like crickets, but they don't show up until August and they have this incessant question-and-answer session all night long: "Rheent, rheent?", "Rheent, rheent!"  They stay high in the trees so I haven't seen one yet.  If you have any idea what they are, please enlighten me!

It never ceases to surprise me how this can happen every year.  It was so hot and the air so thick when I was running today, and soon I'll be layered in clothes and freezing my nose hairs with each frigid breath.  Soon I'll be snowboarding, too and that gives me happy thoughts, but much as I love, love, love it, I've got to be honest.  I really love summer.  Less clothes, lots of sun, warm winds...I will miss you.

Saturday, August 16

Words. Fruit. Flowers. Ink.

I heard a fantastic poem on the Garrison Keillor podcast today whilst on my morning run. One was about a couple who should be getting ready for bed, but instead open up another bottle of wine and enjoy each other's company into the wee hours even though they have to work the next day. I love poetry! I love words strung together in such a way that my eyes widen and my heart quickens, or I just sigh.

That got me thinking of all the mediums I and we as humans express ourselves in. Words are not so different from paint, or paint from glass or glass from dancing. Dancing is not so different from growing...fruit, vegetable, flowers. Such beauty in the form of each perfect or wonderfully imperfect form.

As I chose from a rainbow of Zinnias that a vendor had for sale at the farmers market today, she noticed me picking and pondering. "Are you having fun?" she asked good naturedly. I laughed, "Yes, they are beautiful." She said I should come to her house on a Friday night with a flashlight to see how much fun that was. I liked having that imagery in my head that these flowers were picked by flashlight the night before and certainly moonlight, too, because I remember seeing it shining on my kitchen floor. I caught a conversation she was having with another customer about tattoos, another medium we express ourselves in. A unique medium where the creator and bearer of the work are simultaneously expressing. She did not approve of someone who had a toadstool and flower on their leg wearing shorts to show it off and serving the public in some manner. I almost shared my thoughts on how people express themselves with her that had been rolling around my head all morning, but chose to be on my way and share my thoughts with you instead. Ink and flowers growing are not so different I would have told her. Both grow from a tiny speck - a dot of ink, a little seed - and become a full creation to behold.

P.S. I do not have a tattoo, but am enamored by the art. I just can't find something that I'd want to live with forever. I have a strange affection for my scars incurred during athletic adventures though. There is a tiny scar on my left pinky finger that I got from crashing my bike in the bushes on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. I will love it forever: Proof that will back up the fading memories when I am old.

Wednesday, August 13

Surf Ski

  Surf ski. It just sounds cool. That is what I tried out tonight at 'yak racing (top). It is like paddling a boat with a knife edge on its belly. It goes through waves like they weren't even there. No bounce, just smooth. Was it tippy? Well, it sure was, but I just have to learn how this boat responds. It is extremely narrow and feels more like something you put on than sit on top of because it just fits and responds to your body.

By the end of the evening I found myself joining the paddling company's inaugural women's race team. "Can I be captain?" jokingly rolled off my tongue, and relieved looks and affirmations were the response. Wait...what does the captain have to do? We start "training" tomorrow. Good Lord. This will be my first attempt at a team sport. Wish me luck. Did I say I meant to do more kayaking this year? Goal accomplished and what fun it is.

Another highlight of the evening was the staff donning electrical tape for war paint and piling into the war canoe for a lap around the course. They challenged anyone to beat their time. Perhaps the Women's Race Team will heed the call.

Monday, August 11

I <3 Cycling

Scots and world class cyclists size each other up before the Twilight Criterium bike race this past Saturday.

This is one of the coolest events ever to come to the city: a two-hour, night cycling race. B and I have been meaning to go for a couple of years, and next year seems too far away to wait for the next one. We watched from various corners and straightaways as the amateurs finished. There was a crash of about five bikes, and if you think that is painful to watch on TV, it is cringingly tough from a few feet away. The whir and thunk of bikes and flesh on pavement is not something I want to hear twice. Everyone was back on their bikes, but they had to be hurting.

I leaned along the barricades as the pros started filling in at the start. The mass of cleaned shaved, muscled legs and svelte bodies elbow-to-elbow in brightly colored spandex exuded an amazing race-ready energy. It reminded me of being at the horse races. I asked the closest one if he had done this before, and the Aussie, number 90, said, "No, this is my first time." I picked him as my "horse." They took to the freshly rained on course with a double rainbow arched over it at 8:30 and had a clear spot of weather for about an hour before the a slight drizzle made a return. Some family came from out of town to meet us, but decided not to in the end so we missed the last half hour to greet them at home, but it was incredibly exciting. I am officially a cycling race fan!

And how did 90 fair? He and a small group of others had to stop at the pit early on so no win for him. Maybe he'll be back next year.

Wednesday, August 6

Young and In Love

It was an ego boosting, feel-good night. First I went to get my hair cut after work 'cause it's been since March.  Now some hair I had on my head in Hawaii is on the cutting room floor - *sigh.* Since I skipped the blow dry it was just $13 which I was psyched about. I really had no idea how it was going to come out, but looked okay wet and had to be better than what I walked in with. I learned a few years ago that asking for the "Rachel" would get me pretty good results. My hair stylists keep leaving, but no matter who I go to they seem to have a good grasp on that with some variations.

Next I hopped in my car and headed to kayak racing where I set a new PR! My best time yet. Someone asked me if I was a serious racer before I put in. I said I don't know about that, but I seriously try. My time was 23:88 minutes with a 5.02 mph pace which is fantastic for me. I could have gone faster, too so that was satisfying knowing there was still room for improvement. It was also gratifying because I have become steadily slower all summer due to conditions and me just sucking. One woman beat me tonight by .76. Grrr. Still I won a glass from the race series' beer sponsor and a bumper sticker from the kayak place. Besides sips here and there to see if I still hate it, I have only drunk a half can of beer in my life, but it's a nice glass. It'll get filled with milk at dinner time.

I stood chit chatting with everyone after and mentioned by husband, which then sparked conversation about my age 'cause they thought I was just a kid. I got 14, 22 and 17 thrown out there so that was fun. I know it won't last forever, so this thirty-four-year-old will bask in those "you look like a teenager" comments for as long as they do. I think it's more staggering when they hear my husband and I just celebrated our sweet 16 anniversary. The secret I told them: no kids!

Speaking of marriage, my co-worker is tying the knot soon and I just got her invitation. First they are just beautiful; completely designed and hand "die-cut" by her. My favorite part though is a quote inside:
"You don't marry one person; you marry three:
the person you think they are,
the person they are, and
the person they are going to become
as a result of being married to you."
- Richard Needham

That is the truest, sweetest description of marriage I've ever heard. If you are lucky, your spouse makes you a better person just because you want to be better for them and allows you to become all the things you want to be in your own right. (After all they fell in love with you because you were a separate and interesting person.) And of course they love you for who you are even when it's not pretty. If I never win the lottery, I still feel like the luckiest person I know.

Write it in the Sky

Can't afford to rent a plane trailing a banner professing your undying love or other matters? Do it virtually.

Tuesday, August 5

Win a Free Bag

I love taking my own grocery bags with me to the store. Sure, it helps the planet, but it also helps me carry EVERYTHING into the house at once. Saving time and the planet. Jump on the bandwagon. You could win a free bag here from Flip and Tumble, a company that creates reusable bags that roll up into a tiny ball. Leave it in your car and it will always be at the ready.

Great Monday Night Ride

Monday made my head hurt, but the evening spent mountain biking with B cured it. First we grabbed a $5 turkey sub at Subway. I stuffed it in the backpack and we mustered up the grueling zigzag incline to the top of the hill. When we made it, B was ready to sit down and eat, but I said, "No! We have to pretend like the food isn't there (which it usually isn't 'cause we always forget) and do some riding while there is still good light." It's gets pretty dark in the forest. I have fancy yellow sunglasses to brighten the shadows that I left cozied in their case right in my bag in the car. Numbskull. Besides that, they are great eye protection, but we were so far in that I didn't bother going back for them and was fortunate to leave with both peepers intact.

We came across a trail labelled T which ran all along the top of the edge of the hill. It was a nice trail to relax and stay or get warmed up on - nothing too scary, trees nearly scraping the handlebars but all in all just an easy hard-packed meandering trail. Lots of fun. Later we got on Chutes and Ladders and that was a blast. Lots of killer hills though and some logs that we'll learn to jump over one day. B can do it, but I am still challenged. There's another trail called Ribbon Candy that feels just like snowboarding - the trail follows the same line a snowboard would with steep-banked turns. We bypassed it this time. We've done it before, but my bike and I don't go down it the conventional way in spots (read sliding partway down hill with bike laying on me and me cursing).

All sweaty and grungy, we popped into Apple store at the mall on the way home to grab my car charger and a case for B. We bought some tea and coffee at Starbucks because it was there and played with our iPhones for a bit before calling it a night. On the way out we had to pass by Lindt's chocolate shop so in we went to see if there were any free samples, and after looking like we were interested for a bit, the woman behind the counter offered them up: deep dark chocolate mint truffles. A sweet ending to the evening. I was still thinking about it today; it was that good.

Saturday, August 2

Bye Ohio

We are on the road returning from B's family reunion. It was a pleasant day of hanging out with the family I knew and the ones I didn't. Great Aunt Betty was a pretty cool eighty-some year old character. At once candid, brave and funny. I love people like that.

Another highlight of the day was seeing pictures of my husband as a little boy in the reunion photo album. Cute then as he is handsome now with the most sweetly honest eyes that ever looked into you. What a treat to see the little boy he was. My mom took so many pictures of me you could make a flip book and watch me grow before your eyes, but of B I had just seen a couple posed portraits like his third-grade bowl haircut picture. Who knew my tall, dark and handsome had blond hair?

Friday, August 1

Hi Ohio

Tomorrow is going to start before the sun comes up. I guess it always does, but I'm going to be awake for it. B and I are off to his family reunion. Yep, I married a native Ohion. We'll meet up with his mom, sister and her kids partway and all pile into her van. Family road trips are always an adventure so I'm sure we'll make some memories. I always love when something so memorable happens that it gets brought up during every holiday get together. Little Miss Sunshine anyone?

Wednesday, July 23

The App Store

My husband has been getting all kinds of Apps from the Apps store, and I've been adding what he's downloaded, but tonight I found a cool one. Comic Touch. It allows you to add comic conversation bubbles to any picture on or taken with your phone. Do you need it? No. But you don't really need an iPhone either - it's just incredibly fun. Oh, there are other special effects and an e-mail photo button as well. If I weren't so tired, I'd post an example so you'll just have to take my word for it for now. You can see how it works here.

Ripple Effect

There was a downpour when I left work, so no kayak racing tonight, but here's a pic from when B and I went out last.

So You Want to Be a Graphic Designer?

People ask me what I do and I like to say kayak lakes and creeks, hike in quiet pockets of forest around my home and read mentally delicious books because I feel I should be defined by the myriad of things that I love, not the singular thing that makes me money. (The beadmaking could keep me in supply of Ramen noodles, but no roof over my head, hehe.) Yes, you say, but that is how you afford to do all the things you love. And you are right. Because I really love snowboarding, and man, that isn't cheap. Sometimes I do answer that I'm a graphic designer, and people always get a little starry eyed, and say, "That must be a lot of fun! I was starry-eyed myself, and thought it'd be a lot of fun once, too. Honestly, though this little video is what it's really like in real life. Daily. So consider what you think you want to be very carefully. That said, creating is really fun when you get to work on top-of-the-line Macs with the newest software available (I'm not bragging, just grateful; I was on Photoshop 5.5 and Freehand 8 for the last decade), but just be ready for whatever you make to end up barely recognizable from where you began and you struggling to keep it from looking hideous. This is truly what your job is. Take all the changes they give you and keep it from looking hideous. Because at the end of the day you want to be proud of what you made, but some days you just have to resign yourself to the reality of the job. You just keep a copy of that first design as a memento of what could have been.

Restoring the Faith
On another note, being able to work in InDesign and Illustrator again (and Photoshop on a computer that will let me move something and not have to go to lunch and come back before it catches up) has rekindled a few twinkles again. InDesign alone is so intuitive that I actually remember why I wanted to do this. I guess there is still some fun to be had, and I have made it my new mission to master this program and as much as I can of CS3 in general. Treading water does nothing but let you keep breathing in place.

Saturday, July 19

Back From the Market

I love going to the farmers' market. I am lucky to have one close enough to ride my bike to and come back with my backpack full of fresh goodies. It is incredibly oppressively muggy out though and after my 3 mile run, I drove down instead.

Today I came back with fresh sweet corn, plump little blueberries, zucchini and yellow squash and bright red-pink radishes. The radishes were an impulse buy. They were just so pretty wrapped in a bundle with their leaves and roots still intact. Oh, I got some roasted pumpkin seeds, too. A co-worker shared some at work this week, and they were tasty but so salty. I nearly started coughing when I ate them that's how powerful it was. These are hulled and lightly salted so are much milder going down. Still, I do kind of like munching on that shell though. It's very tactile.

The Dark Knight

Everyone is raving about this movie, and so will I. It is dark, maniacal and intense. Heath put past Jokers to shame, and to be honest I could just watch Christian Bale lean against a building all day. Tall, dark and handsome just like my guy. Plus he has "the nose," and I'm a nose girl. I joke with B that I married him for his nose; it's just a bonus that he's an awesome guy. The two of us met up with V and enjoyed coffee and conversation at Tim Horton's post-movie. Actually only B had coffee, but coffee and conversation (which I copped from B's Twitter) has such nice alliteration.

Spoiler Alert: Did you think the prisoner would push the detonator? Me, too - and then felt guilty for it. I like how the director included us all in the social experiment.

Favorite Line: Madness is like gravity. All it takes is a little push.

Wednesday, July 16

Is it Your Imagination?

No, it's not your imagination. The iPhone has sucked me into a vortex that has not allowed me to blog, but I have momentarily escaped for a short post. Shhhhh. Sure, I can blog from the phone, but I'm doing so many other things with it! Okay, the truth? I'm still perfecting my typing skills. I am not a big texter so this two-thumbing it is newish for me. The touch keys are really responsive though, and I can see how I could be blazingly fast in the future.

Let's see. What's new? You know you're putting on muscle when the Fed-Ex guy at work notices, LOL. I had to sign for a package since the receptionist was out, and I was the nearest human. Seeing me in my sleeveless shirt that is against the dress code (take that dress code police!) he said, "Wow, look at the muscles on you. Good for you!" How very complimentary! The best part is he is not skeevey (like the DHL guy), and it was just a compliment. Thanks Fed-Ex guy! That weekly kayaking racing is toning the arms.

Here's something new for you fellow graphic designers. Stop copying and pasting! Say goodbye to command C, command V. Just click your object, hold down the option key and drag. Presto! Hold option and shift to constrain it like I know you'll want to. How did I not know this?

Also new to me: Changing the colors of things in drop down menus in InDesign. I'm always doing Paste Into, and I kind of have to look for it, but now that it's orange, it stands right out! Hmm. Now where did I find that? Maybe under Change Menus or something? I'll look it up if you're interested. Let me know.

Friday, July 11

Journey to the 21st Century's 3D

Holy crap, Journey to the Center of the Earth in RealD - the new 3D technology is out-of-this-world, slick, tasty eye candy. This is better than IMAX 3D.

Take your kids. Take your grandma. Take your eyes and put them back in your head when it's over.

RealD Cinema

I'm going to have technology overload today. I am just about to experience RealD - the new 3D!

iWent. iWaited. iPhone!

Yay, I got my new phone! This I-just-like-my-phone-to-make-calls person has been assimilated - and I don't even have it working yet. It's pretty cool folks and it's fun. Sitting in our comfy camp chairs in line chatting with our neighbors was amazingly enjoyable. Corey, e-mail me so when my husband and I go to Japan someday we can pick your brain on non-touristy, must-do things.

When was the last time outside of being 10 you remember being excited about a piece of plastic? It's the same thing, but this toy can actually help me get back home when I am lost. I also want to say Kudos to Apple on the minimal packaging. It comes in a slick little box with just enough room for what it comes with: a booklet, outlet thingy, charger cord and ear buds. I have a protective covering on the screen already and it's resting in the box until iTunes stops stressing out so I can activate it. B and I may go see a movie to kill some time.

Thursday, July 10

AT&T or Apple Store - Help Us Choose!

So today is iPhone eve. Tomorrow B and I will be headed to get our twin iPhones. Should we go to the Apple store or AT&T? 

Apple Store stats: In a mall. 40 minutes away. Would there be a mad dash through the mall once the doors are open? Cool factor: 10

AT&T: Stands alone. 15 minutes away. Could sit outside in lawn chairs, cook, chat, etc. Cool factor: 2

Comment and let me know what your vote is! 

P.S. For those of you who know me, I just like my phone to be able to make a phone call. No bells and whistles for me. But this has GPS! I will never be lost again, or better said, I will always be able to find my way home. I'm pretty excited about that. I don't know that having the Web at my fingertips every waking moment will be good for me. I'm sure there will be a period of voracious activity, and then I will coast into a more respectable manner of use.

Wednesday, July 9

Do the Salmon Dance


I love this! You might, too. Just give it one chance. Salmon have a keener sense of smell than a dog or a bear? What?!

Fourth Photos

B and I usually spend the Fourth of July enjoying solely each other's company getting dirty biking or wet kayaking, but this year we spent it with family.  Friday was so wonderfully enjoyable at my parents' first cookout in their new house.  We picnicked in the front lawn that my dad has been hard at work making pretty.  You know those cooking shows where all the friends come over and everyone is outside and it just looks like the best time?  That was the mood.  My mother-in-law came and we all ate and chatted the afternoon away.  

In the evening we headed to Midway - the place I learned the joy of riding amusement park rides.  It's actually a state park now.  My parents and B and I played Skee-Ball until the quarters ran out.  Finally we plunked our chairs down on a good spot on the grassy lawn in front of the park and shivered until the fireworks started.  My dad went to grab a blanket, and B and I pulled it up to our chins.  The show was very bright and colorful and set to movie music.  It would better be described as music playing while fireworks are set off as most set-to-music fireworks seem to be. We headed to the car and my dad muscled us out of the crowd.

Saturday I helped my niece find her bedroom floor.  Not that she's messy, but her family has just moved, and I decided if I could help with just one room that I'd feel like I'd help make a dent for them. The bonus turned out to be her going through her clothes and making a pile she didn't want, and it all fit me.  Yay, new clothes! I wore one of the shirts to work today and garnered a bunch of compliments.  I think they were just glad to see me in something different.  I know I'm sick of my wardrobe, but too cheap to go buy stuff.

It turned out I did get some biking in after all when my arm was twisted by my other niece to chase her around the yard on her sister's bike.  Seeing myself for what I was - a lame adult if I didn't - I took my turn and then handed the bike to my brother-in-law and later my husband who looked the funniest because he's 6' tall and riding a pre-teen girl's bike.

P.S. My sister-in-law made her ice cream cake which I proceeded to have a small piece of three times.  She uses ice cream sandwiches, caramel, hot fudge, whipped topping and sprinkles.  FAB-U-LOUS!